> My tentative hypothesis is that "creation science" is anti-rational.
>That is, the arguments are not simply poorly thought out, but are meant
>to be a rejection of reasoning. If they were *trying* to give reasons,
>occasionally they might hit on something better than what we see. If
>they didn't *care* about reasons, they would just be Bible inerrantists.
>I'm guessing that they have feelings about rationality -- they don't
The problem is that rationality and inerrantism ultimately are at odds.
For an example, let us take the position temporarily, that one of the
most basic tenets of creationism is true, that the human race was created
seperately from the animals, in the form of an original "pair".
Given the assumption then, we can begin to make further inferences.
We can then divide the range of possibilities into two primary camps, and
begin to explore them:
1. Pseudohistorical Creation - This postulates that the creation
of the original human pair included the creation of historical artifacts,
such as a navel, which represent synthetic evidence of historical events.
2. Pristine Creation - this postulates that the creation of the original
human pair did not include the creation of any historical artifacts such
as a navel.
Let us explore postulate #2 first. This quickly becomes a difficult
position to justify, as the navel is only the most obvious artifact.
Hair, tooth wear, callouses, fingernails, growth itself can be considered
such a historical artifact. In order to avoid invoking explanation #1,
you begin to enter into the difficulties of how an adult human could
exist without usual evidence that one aquires while growing up, or at
what point a human fetus could be produced and maintained "ex nihlo"
without the synthesis of past events. Even at the point of conception,
the existance of a fertilized egg implies the previous existance of an
unfertilized egg and sperm, each containing the fingerprint of their
portion of the parent's chromosomes.
The concept of Pristine Creation encounters similar difficulties when
you explore the plant kingdom as well. Seedlings that bear evidence of
stem-connection with the parent plant illustrate that the growth cycle
of all living things is just that, a "cycle". Creation therefore
requires what Gosse termned "The sudden bursting into a circle". Gosse
accurately showed that there is no point in the cycle of a living species
where it can be created "ex nihlo" that does not require pseudohistorical
artifacts, therefore, creation must have been Pseudohistorical and not
Pristine. (Philip Gosse: "Omphalos - Untying the Geological Knot" London
So then there is postulate #1. If pseudohistorical artifacts such as a
navel were created, why not tree rings, sedimentary and igneous rocks,
ice-cores, the Grand Canyon, the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, etc.
as well. The scenario quickly becomes indistinguishable from "Last-
Wednesdayism" (that the universe was created last Wednesday intact and
fully operational along with our memories of childhood) and has to
contend with questions about deceptions by the creator.
Is this the sort of arguments that should be presented in science classes
as "equal time"?
Am I a creation scientist yet?
Arguments that attempt to find fault with the fossil record evidence's
ability to support evolution, or the arguments regarding the accuracy of
radiometric dating methods, no matter who is putting forth these arguments,
are evolutionary science. You are doing evolution science when you attempt
to poke holes in evolutionary claims. That is what scientists do when they
study evolution, attempt to poke holes in its claims in order to clarify
and refine those claims, and in order to test the accuracy of the claims.
Note that there are no laws barring the discussion in science classes of
any difficulties that might exist with the theory of evolution. That is
precisely because such discussions are good evolutionary science.
No matter how often creationists spout "creation science", "creation
science", "creation science", what they actually DO is more like
evolution science that it is creation science because it does nothing
to explore creationist claims beyond its claim to "none-of-the-above":
Which of the following are true:
B. Spontaneous Creation
C. None Of The Above
Creationists attempt to lump B and C together, and attempt to cast enough
doubt on A so that their B-C combination will become accepted by default.
To actually perform creation science, creation scientists must avoid their
none-of-the-above pseudoscience, and like evolution scientists do, knuckle
down and attempt to poke holes in their own theory, refining it until
it becomes a better explanation than A. They have ceased attempts to do so
because they haven't been able to get past my two postulates and what they
seem to realize are non-scientific apologetics of "miracles" or "mysterious
ways" and have instead resorted to politico-scientific "posturing". As
I've said before, in politics, unlike in science or the legal system, the
only rational argument you need is that you are significant in number.
The fact that these poseurs garner as much acceptance as they do is an
indictment of the sorry state of science education in this country.